Australopithecus sediba hand demonstrates mosaic evolution of locomotor and manipulative abilities.

Published

Journal Article

Hand bones from a single individual with a clear taxonomic affiliation are scarce in the hominin fossil record, which has hampered understanding the evolution of manipulative abilities in hominins. Here we describe and analyze a nearly complete wrist and hand of an adult female [Malapa Hominin 2 (MH2)] Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa (1.977 million years ago). The hand presents a suite of Australopithecus-like features, such as a strong flexor apparatus associated with arboreal locomotion, and Homo-like features, such as a long thumb and short fingers associated with precision gripping and possibly stone tool production. Comparisons to other fossil hominins suggest that there were at least two distinct hand morphotypes around the Plio-Pleistocene transition. The MH2 fossils suggest that Au. sediba may represent a basal condition associated with early stone tool use and production.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kivell, TL; Kibii, JM; Churchill, SE; Schmid, P; Berger, LR

Published Date

  • September 8, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 333 / 6048

Start / End Page

  • 1411 - 1417

PubMed ID

  • 21903806

Pubmed Central ID

  • 21903806

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1202625

Language

  • eng